do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world

Today was a beautiful day. Absolutely glorious, especially after the varying shades of dreadful, surprising, and middling irritating through which we've slogged for the past ten months or so. Last weekend was a doozy, with everything from the upper 60s and sun to thunderstorms and hail to snow (see below) within two days. 75 and sunny with not too much wind was just right. I spent the day reading, mostly, with a spot in the middle for repotting some plants that desperately needed it. Turned a couple of root-bound African Violets back into plants (well, turned two into eight, which is more than I really wanted or have room for, but one does what one must) and just made a couple of others happier and healthier. Ran out of potting soil and empty pots (again) in the process. How does this keep happening?!

If you look closely at the upper left side of the windshield, you'll see hail...

...which also shows up a little better in this photo, ...

...and here's some very apparent snow.

I'm reading a very good book, and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's the sort of thing that I wish I could buy in bulk and just plop into the hands of everyone I care about, so that y'all can read it with me.

When Your Life is On Fire: What Would You Save? was written by Erik Kolbell. My review for Goodreads.com [which I write primarily for myself, as notes for what I've written, and if it's of incidental use to anyone else, so be it] follows.

Borrowed it from the library, got about a third of the way through, and returned it. Why? Because I needed to own it. Ordered it for my e-reader, because I was too impatient to wait the two days for it to arrive in print.

This is a profound book, and it's having a profound effect on me. I'm reading no more than one chapter a day and then taking time to reflect on it before moving on to the next. The thesis of the book is deceptively simple: if your life were on fire and you could save one thing, whether a physical object or something of value within yourself (e.g. an aspect of your intellect or your personality), what would you save? Each chapter comes in the form of an interview between the author (a Congregational minister with a concentration in Judaic studies) and various people--famous and "regular"--about the one thing that each of those people would save, and why. Each chapter is followed by a short group of discussion questions, which I've simply considered further topics for thought.

Is this a religion book? Sort of, but not really. There are religious aspects to it, but each of the chosen saved "objects" is certainly not from that category. The prose has a spiritual quality, in the sense that what is considered is the essential nature of a person's life. Is it a philosophy book? Sort of, but not really. It is grounded in practical reality, in what the interviewed people do on a daily basis, rather than the theoretical constructs and possibilities that most readers would consider philosophy.

It is a thoughtful, readable book that is making me reconsider some things that I thought I knew about myself and my own life, and to look at my own values in a different way. And I've already pushed it into the hands of two of my favorite reader-friends, so they can do the same.

Very highly recommended.

When I bought the book for my e-reader, I started reading again at the beginning so that I could take notes and highlight, which I obviously could not do in the library's copy. I'm still making steady progress but haven't yet finished. It's just as compelling the second time through.

The latest on the wedding front involves trying to find shoes to wear with my dress (blush-pink suede sandals are the front-runners) and negotiating via the groom-to-be for a hotel room on the night that we all arrive in The Big City. Our rental house will not be available until night number two.

It will all come together. Unless something else comes together first....

[the title quotation is by John Burroughs, from Studies in Nature and Literature]

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